Back in the early 70’s Coverdale (a change management consultancy) ran team building skills courses. It involved a week doing relatively simple tasks in teams where the outcome was usually within an hour, this allowed the teams to focus more on how they worked together and interacted and less on the task itself, which was simple.

To prove some of their methods Coverdale took over the ‘management’ of Bournemouth football club during which time it was promoted up a division each year for the 2-3 years they managed the club with the same players.

The example they used about ‘playing to one’s strengths’ was that a particular striker was only any good scoring goals with his right foot, and the previous management had him training to be better with his left foot.

Coverdale, told him to forget his left foot - his skill was speed onto the ball and scoring with his right foot, so they would organize the team to give him the ball to his right foot wherever possible. So he trained sprinting as fast as possible and scoring with his right.

That season his score rate more than doubled, but the significant point of their example was that 35{c2f17feaf9643b514b931860cddc9c6f2ea00171588f8eaf96a325d9beaaeb64} of the goals he scored he scored with his left foot.

Their point was that in a team, each team member’s strengths are their assets, not their weaknesses. If you get people to focus on what they can’t do well, what they can do well suffers. However, if you get people to focus on what they can do well, what they can’t do well gets better.

AFC Bournemouth

Interesting isn’t it; and Bournemouth are now playing in the Premiership!






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